Health and Social Care Bill — Report (3rd Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 27th February 2012.

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Photo of Baroness Wheeler Baroness Wheeler Opposition Whip (Lords) 10:15 pm, 27th February 2012

My Lords, we strongly support the amendments in this group, which underline the importance of the NHS Commissioning Board and CCGs seeking advice from healthcare practitioners from across the patient care pathway, including local clinical specialists and allied health professionals, and going beyond professional input to seek advice from organisations with expertise in the experience of patients.

We hope that the Government will recognise the strong case put forward by the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, and other speakers to these amendments for also recognising the expertise of patients' organisations in the Bill and ensure that commissioners seek their advice as well as that of health professionals. By this we mean patients' organisations not just being consulted but beinggenuinely involved in helping to co-design or co-produce services. Many patients' organizations, such as the Stroke Association for example, arekey providers of local services such as reablement or information, advice and support services to stroke survivors, carersand family members across the country. They have first-hand, direct experience of the issuesthat matter most to patients across the whole care pathway, hospital and community. Involvement of patient groups would also help the patient voice in the clinical senates and networks, which the noble Baroness, Lady Masham, also mentioned. To remind the Government, this approach was supported by the clinical workstream of the Future Forum, round one, but was overlooked in the Government's response. Now is a good opportunity to address this issue.

Amendment 65, tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Patel, and the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, deals with information collected by the board on the safety of services provided by the health service being made available to healthcare providers, the Care Quality Commission and HealthWatch England, local authorities and professional organisations in healthcare. We fully support this, along with the caveat provided by Amendment 66 that the information should be freely available without charge. I hope that the Minister will accept the need to make progress on this important issue and reassure the House about the involvement of healthcare professionals and patient organisations in developing the commissioning plans.